7 Ways to Overcome Low Self-Esteem

Low self-esteem is not something that can be fixed in “10 Easy Steps” or after reading one life changing article. It is a process, but a process you can approach with fairly simple activities. In my previous post on self-esteem, I covered three activities. For today, I’ve collected seven more ideas on what you can do to overcome low self-esteem.

Unsure if you have low self-esteem? This post may be able to answer that question.

Self-Esteem Boosting Activities

Journal

Take time each day to write down any negative thoughts you have. Getting them down on paper, and out of your head is a good first step to getting past them. Many times, once I write those thoughts down, I can see that either my mind has exaggerated the situation, or it is something easily fixed.

A journal is also a great place to write those compliments that you are working on accepting gracefully. Each night, write down any you received from people, or come up with one for yourself.

Refine your support system

Work on surrounding yourself with people who celebrate your strengths instead of pointing out your weaknesses. You do not have to keep anyone around who tears at your self-worth. Get rid of as many of those people as possible, even if they are family.

I’m not saying you should surround yourself with “yes people”. Constructive criticism is very important, but constant criticism is not something you should have to deal with. If you walk away from an encounter with someone feeling worse about yourself, instead of encouraged or motivated, that is the type of relationship you should feel free to end.

People inspire you, or they drain you - pick them wisely.

Start the day on a positive note

Whether you like to laugh or prefer something inspiring or uplifting, find something that makes you smile in the morning. Start the day smiling, and it will be easier to have a positive outlook with all you do.

You can leave positive quotes around the house on post-it notes, check out funny videos on YouTube, or sign up to have uplifting stories delivered to your email, among other ideas. The options for this are just about unlimited, you just have to search a bit.

Discover and pursue your passions

Write down all of your positive qualities and your interests. Take a look at your lists, and see what stands out. Do you see any patterns or traits that stick out or really fit together?

My enjoyment of writing, desire to help people, and gift of empathy directed me toward blogging, but it took me until I was 37 to discover. Since she was two my daughter has adored baking. She has a real drive for it and always has. My oldest spawn has a talent for drawing. It has been a joy to watch their skill develop over the years. Drawing is something they do for enjoyment, and strive to improve their skills at.

Your passions might jump out at you, or it might take some contemplation. Don’t worry if it takes trying a bunch of new things before you find what you really love. Have fun with the process!

Sooth yourself

Nurture yourself. Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself as you would a child. Be sure you get enough sleep, food, etc. Provide comfort for yourself any time you can.

Do the hard stuff too, and spend time adulting so you provide yourself the security you deserve. You may think this sounds like the opposite of “soothing”. I do too, but having all the hard stuff dealt with removes a lot of stress.  Pay the bills, make the doctor appts, etc.

Provide visual cues

Pick some quotes you like, or phrases that click with you, and tape them up where you will see them through the day. These can provide perspective and hopefully curb any negative self-talk you may have.

Your self-esteem is ingrained and it is going to take repetition to change. Don’t just choose what ever positive cliché you run across first. Make sure you choose something that really resonates with you and you agree with.

Redefine failure

Lack of success does not equal failure. You only truly fail if you quit trying. Instead, “failure” can be viewed as learning opportunities, chances to grow, and steps along the way to your goal. None of those things are negative! You don’t need to fear trying something and not being successful right away, if you look at it with this perspective. Many very successful people describe “failure” the same way.

 

"We are all failures - at least the best of us are." J.M. Barrie
Sir James Matthew Barrie, 1st Baronet, OM was a Scottish novelist and playwright, best remembered today as the creator of Peter Pan.
"Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success." Robert T. Kiyosaki
Robert T. Kiyosaki is best known as the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad. This is the #1 personal finance book of all time.
"Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success. I've met people who don't want to try for fear of failing." J.K. Rowling
Joanne Rowling, pen names J. K. Rowling and Robert Galbraith, is a British novelist, screenwriter and film producer best known as the author of the Harry Potter fantasy series.

Again, these aren’t magic steps or anything. Choosing a few to practice daily can help you start building yourself up though, and that will develop your self-worth. Gradually, you will see yourself overcome low self-esteem.

If you find any of these ideas helpful, please share on your favorite social media site. Thank you for stopping by the blog!

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.

 

Growing In Self-Acceptance Community for FML

I was made aware that I never “officially” told you about the Facebook group made in connection with the blog. A community where people can support each other as they grow in their understanding of themselves and improve self-esteem together is a dream of mine. That is what I’m hoping Growing in Self-acceptance can be.

Members will get early notification of any new projects I do or any exciting announcements. (They will know second after my email list.) There will also be fun challenges to do together, if you want to participate, and other community building activities.

Exclusive to the group, will be weekly Facebook live sessions where we can do Q&A’s, talk about a recent post, or discuss any number of other subjects as we decide on together. I want to be there for you and share in this learning! These will then be posted to YouTube for re-watching. Only group members will have the opportunity to ask questions live and participate in the discussion as it happens.

This group will be an important part of the Flawed, Messy Life community, and I’d love for you to help me grow it. Once it gets big enough, I’ll need to choose a few admins to help out also.

How to join Growing in Self-Acceptance

Growing In Self-Acceptance

Just click this link to be taken to the group, and request to be added. To be sure you don’t miss out on any bonuses I may send out later, join my email list also. You can find a form to fill out on the side bar, or toward the bottom of the page if you are on mobile.

We are a small group at this point, but we are developing. I believe that if we work through some growing pains we will have an amazing community. I look forward to seeing you there!

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.

12 Signs You Have Low Self-Esteem

I was all set to write about self-confidence. Then I got into the definitions, and realized self-esteem was actually what I had in mind.

Self-confidence: a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment.

Self-esteem: confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect.

See, I want to talk about self-esteem. I want you to know deep down that you are worthy of love and respect. Since self-esteem develops over time, it isn’t something you can just read a multi-step list or “one mega secret” article about and fix. Self-esteem is a long-term goal. Still, I included a few things at the end of the post that you can do to start building yours up.

So, how can you tell if you have low self-esteem? Here are a few possible signs.

12 Signs of Low Self-Esteem

Indicators of low self-esteem

Inability to accept compliments: Do you find it hard to just say, “thank you” when someone offers you a compliment? Are you suspicious of their intentions? Is the idea of deserving praise foreign to you?

Accentuating the negative: When asked about yourself, can you list your strengths, or is it only your weaknesses that jump to mind? If you think of how life is right now, do you think of positives and wins or only struggles?

Being overly concerned about the opinions of others: Do you make choices based on what other people might like? Does the idea of other people judging you cause daily stress?

Self neglect: Are you good at self-care, or do you let it slide? Do you make sure you get the sleep, food, etc you need? Do you see the doctor?

Reluctance to take on challenges: Do you try new things? Are you challenging yourself at work or in your personal life? Would your friends and family say you play it safe?

Backing down during a disagreement to appease others: If you quit an argument, is it to keep the peace, or because you have changed your mind. Do you ever win an argument? Can you stand firm in your thoughts on a subject?

Reluctance to put yourself first: Are your needs ever first priority? Someone with low self-esteem doesn’t think they are important enough, and so is always taking care of everyone else before themselves.

You give up too soon:  Do you work for what you want or give in without a fight? This can apply to arguments, fights, or goals in life among other things. If something you want is hard do you keep trying?

Being indecisive over simple decisions: If you can’t decide what to wear each morning, and lunch seems like a life or death choice, you may be suffering from low self-esteem. It shouldn’t be so hard to make uncomplicated decisions. Do you worry any choice you make is wrong?

You compare yourself with others: Is your focus on yourself and your path in life, or do you always focus on how you compare to other people? Can you see your successes on their own, or is it always in measure to how someone else did?

Taking constructive criticism too personally: If someone suggests a way you can improve at your job (or in some other way), does it trigger tears or anger? Can you listen to criticism and see it as something helpful?

Reluctance to trust your own opinion or contribute it in conversation: Do you speak up, or hang back not sure your thoughts are worth sharing? Is it common for you to second guess yourself?

Do you recognize more than one or two of these? If so, it’s a good indication you have low self-esteem. Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. (I recognize more than a couple of them myself.) The good news is that, knowing this, you can start working toward improving how you see yourself! You may not believe it right now, but you are seeing yourself through a distorted lens.

It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else's eyes. -by Sally Field

Simple Activities That Help Raise Self-Esteem

Accept Compliments: Trust people are being sincere when they offer you a compliment. Take this a step further, and write these compliments down! Keep them in a notebook to review on days you are being extra hard on yourself, at the end of the week, or even go over them daily!

Find what you are good at and do it: Having confidence in your abilities, and allowing yourself pride in those skills, will contribute to your self-esteem over time. If you don’t already have a hobby or something that you enjoy, explore your options until you find one. Then, keep at it, and watch those skills improve.

Stop comparing yourself to others: I said simple, not easy. *wink* This may take time, but it is very important to start working on. The only person you should ever compare yourself to is you, and there are exceptions even to that.

I hope this gives you a good idea where you stand with your self-esteem, and a start on improving if needed. Everyone deserves to know, and feel, they are enough in this world and worthy of love and respect.

Be sure to share this on your favorite social media. We all know someone who can use a self-esteem boost.

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.

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12 Extremely Useful Spoonie Cleaning Tips

I wrote a post with a few cleaning tips before, and enjoyed sharing some of the shortcuts I’ve found over the years. I recently had a request to share some more, and I was happy to compile another list of spoonie cleaning tips. These really work for anyone who wants to spend less time and energy on housework but, obviously, my fellow spoonies come to mind first. 🙂

Picture of a Siamese cat on a backgroud of multiple shades of blue. White words say, "1 Day of cleaning. 1 week of recovery."
This is what we are trying to prevent!

Vacuuming

We need to vacuum our carpet almost daily, since we have three dogs and cats. We only vacuum the main part of the carpet though. Once a week we get more detailed, and get the edges with the hose.

Dusting

If you can afford it, buy the fluffy Swiffer dusters. They are the only thing I’ve found that actually pick up the dust rather than push it around. All other dusting methods leave me sneezing.

Use a microfiber cloth on a Swiffer broom to dust/remove cobwebs from walls. It has a 4 foot handle, so you can reach all the way up to most ceilings.

I use pressurized/canned air and a vacuum to get the assorted flotsam out of the keys of the keyboard (and from the inside of the computer tower). A Q-tip with alcohol can help remove any sticky spots, etc.

Laundry

Have you ever forgotten the laundry in the washer and found it a day or two later? Smelly laundry can be fixed by adding a cup or two of white vinegar to the load followed by a soak cycle. If you can, interrupt the cycle and leave it to soak an extra hour. Then resume and follow the soak with your usual wash cycle. Repeat if it doesn’t work the first time.

Black and white photo of a woman using a washtub on a table to do laundry outside.
Hey, it’s better than having to do it this way.

Toilet

We keep down stains and smells by swishing the toilet daily, which lets us only worry about a deep clean about once a month. I learned about toilet swishing from FlyLady. While most of her techniques don’t work for me, the toilet swishing has helped a lot. We keep a toilet brush by each toilet, stored in a container that can hold water. One of ours is in an old flour container, and one is in a vase. Just a little water and any type of soap in it then you can dunk your brush in it, and swish it around the toilet bowl.

 A chamber pot with a toilet brush in it.
(Pictured: A chamber pot with a toilet brush in it.) This is not what mine look like, but gives you an idea of what you can use.

Stains

Vinegar gets used quite a bit around here. Along with the cleaners I make with it, I also use it as a carpet stain remover. I dilute it in a spray bottle at about a 1:1 to 3:1 (water:vinegar) ratio with water. Then I spray it on the stain; soaking the carpet well. I let it sit a few minutes, and then blot it up. Repeat until most of the stain is gone. Then you can switch to scrubbing. If this doesn’t work, re-spray and sprinkle some baking soda on top. Let it bubble, and follow-up by scrubbing with a clean damp rag until rinsed. Let dry and vacuum the area.

Baking soda also works great to get into the small hollows of a textured counter top to help remove ground in dirt/stains. Mix enough water with it to make a “soft scrub” consistency (a paste) and scrub the counter. Leave for 5-15 minutes on any stains. Spray with vinegar for extra tough dirt. Then, wipe off and rinse thoroughly. I usually have to keep rinsing until my bare hand finally doesn’t feel the grit.

Magic Eraser is your friend. I find it useful in so many places.

  • Marks on walls (gently! you can remove paint if you scrub too hard)
  • Finger prints on doors
  • Tub and shower walls
  • Sinks
  • That weird baked on grease stuff on cookie sheets
  • Grease and grime build up on kitchen walls and cabinets. (It can dry out wood, so watch for that.)

Sippy cups

Have a sippy cup/thermos that was left too long? That smell is horrendous and can be really tough to get out. Before you just toss the cup, try this.

First I dump, rinse with hot water, and then fill with soapy water. Replace the lid and shake really well. Repeat and let sit 30 mins to an hour. Now, dump that water, and refill with very hot water and about a 1/4 cup baking soda. Replace the lid, shake, and let sit for a few hours.

If the cup is still smelly, rinse and fill with either full strength white vinegar or 1/2 and 1/2 vinegar and water. Let this sit a few more hours or overnight.

If the smell still isn’t gone at this point, you can keep repeating, but I usually give up and toss the cup. You fought a good fight. 🙂

Miscellaneous Spoonie Cleaning Tips

Don’t feel you need to make your bed. According to researchers at Kingston University in England, making your bed holds in the humidity from you sleeping in it the night before which is the perfect environment for dust mites to breed. So, if you don’t want to make your bed, don’t. It will allow your bed to air out and might cut down on the dust mites. If you still want to make your bed, leave it to air out for an hour or so first.

Clorox wipes are another great multi-tool. We use them to wipe down sinks, counters, appliances, light switches, handles, door knobs, etc. Everything gets a swipe with them if we have an illness running through the house. (Very important tip for my fellow spoonies who have a weak immune system) Keep a container of these wipes near/under each sink and make it easy to wipe up spills, stains, etc as they come. One quick wipe is much easier to deal with rather than scrubbing later. Save those spoons!

Interested in some of those DIY cleaners I mentioned earlier? I’ve got the recipes for 5 of my favs typed up and ready for you to download. Just click on here for the cleaner recipes, and we’ll get you hooked up!

Well, that does it for this batch of spoonie cleaning tips! If you have a specific area of the house that you would like more tips for, drop me a note! I would really love to hear from you. 🙂

Also, if you want to be sure to be notified when I post next, be sure to subscribe!

 

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.

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Brain Fog, Fatigue, and Pain: Confessions of a Chronically Ill Blogger

I’ve decided to start a monthly series here on Flawed, Messy Life. It’s called Confessions of a Chronically Ill Blogger, and I’ll share some of the challenges I face and how I deal with them. I’d like the share my journey of making my dream come true with all of you.

 

I’ve mentioned before that I have fibromyalgia, inflammatory arthritis, dysautonomia, depression and anxiety (generalized and social). Today I want to discuss how these affect me as a blogger. Since they have many overlapping symptoms that are the main issues, I decided to cover it by symptom rather than by condition.

Brain Fog

This is my most common problem. Even when everything else is behaving, brain fog is a frequent issue. Brain fog is a symptom of quite a few different conditions, and it goes along with all of mine. It really is foggy thinking or mental cloudiness as these pictures describe.

What is brain fog? It's trouble with concentraion, being easily distracted, word recall, and more.Brain Fog: Mental Cloudiness: confused, distracted

Brain fog for me is seeing the word or thought in my head and not having the capacity to verbalize or decipher it. I know it's there. I know what it is. I just can't reach it...Chronic "on the tip of my tongue" -Stephanie Becker-Wright
This quote on brain fog is fantastic. I’d describe it the same way.

You need ideas and words put together somewhat intelligently to compose a blog post. That isn’t an easy task with brain fog. Finding the right word for common objects is a challenge some days. I’ve lost the word for potholder, tea, cup, notebook, and many other simple objects before. I will again. Now imagine trying to get more complex ideas out of your head and onto paper. It just isn’t going to happen some days.

This is a huge hurdle when writing a blog. Of course I would rather be prepared for the times my brain fog drags out for days. To do so, I do as much writing as I can on my good days. I might manage to get 2-3 weeks of posts done in one week. This can help so I either don’t miss posting, or only miss one day if things get pretty bad. I also keep ideas ready that take minimal planning and brain power. Thankfully, I have awesome readers who understand when those tricks aren’t quite enough.

Fatigue

This is the next largest problem. Being able to think clear isn’t much good if you can’t stay awake. Fatigue is not the same as being tired. It is feeling like you are moving through cement. When you suffer from fatigue, you feel weighed down, like gravity is higher in your vicinity.

Defining Fatigue: Pathological and Psychological fatigue: The North American Nursing Diagnosis Association definition of fatigue is: "The self-recognized state in which an individual experiences an overwhelming sustained sense of exhaustion and decreased capacity for physical and mental work that is not relieved by rest."
A good definition of fatigue.
Fatigue Scale
This shows how fatigue and the resulting brain fog can vary.

Fatigue means I will suddenly not be able to stay awake. I have no choice in the matter. A nap will happen.

Nap Attack: They Can Happen at Any ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

I’ll still manage some writing if this is my only problem. It might not be something new, but I can type up a draft already written up in my notebook, or I’ll proofread and add on to a first draft saved on the computer. I try to manage at least a little progress on these days.

Pain

While pain can bring on fatigue and brain fog, on its own pain is actually the easiest symptom for me to deal with. Brain fog and fatigue are all-consuming and demand your attention. Pain, I can distract myself from.

With some pain pills, music, or just writing a blog post I can many times find some tactics, or a combination of them, to distract myself and accomplish something. Again, the only works if the pain hasn’t worn me out already and caused the fatigue and brain fog to set in.

So, those are the three main obstacles I have as a chronically ill blogger. My posting schedule has to work around my brain fog, fatigue, and pain. It’s an extra challenge, but I feel it is worth it. My anxiety and depression are different animals, and I’ll address them in another post in this series.

Much love to you all and thank you for being a part of this.

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.

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The 3 Steps I Use To Embrace Change I Want In My Life

Change is hard. Yeah, yeah, you know this. Everyone knows this, but did you know that even simple changes that you want, and you know will make your life immensely better, can be scary?

My Experience With Change

One such change for me was treating my anxiety. I have treated my depression a few times, but never really focused on my anxiety. I finally decided it was likely a bigger problem than I realized, so I made myself an appointment.

While I was eager to treat my anxiety, so it would stop interfering with my life, I also felt very nervous. It wasn’t just nerves over the appointment, which is a familiar feeling. It was something else, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. So I thought about it, and talked it out with my husband. He let me use him as a sounding board, and it was so helpful.

Finally it dawned on me what I was nervous about. I was anxious about not feeling anxious! Now, I’m sure that sounds silly. I know I felt pretty silly at first! Then I thought more about it, and it made sense. I’ve dealt with anxiety most of my life. The idea of not having anxiety was so strange, so unknown, that it scared me. I honestly almost canceled.

I didn’t because I knew there was benefit to treating my anxiety even if the idea was scary. It had to be better to not worry, have tense muscles, struggle to sleep, and have panic attacks on top of other things. I didn’t know what it would be like, but surely it was an improvement.

Of course I was right! Those first few weeks were amazing. Over and over I marveled at how different I felt. I wish I could describe it for you. I realized I was laughing more often and with more feeling than I had in years. My smile was a bigger smile than before. I had no idea that my previous “happy” was so muted. There was still some anxiety, but I wasn’t always thinking of new worries. I also stopped having many of my muscle cramps. (I still get some from my fibromyalgia.) Sleep is still a struggle at times, but now it is only from pain and not anxiety. I don’t have to also fight negative thoughts as I lie in bed trying to fall asleep.

How Can You Apply My Steps?

Yeah, change is scary, but it can be so, so worth it. So, how do you move forward with change if you are scared? Well, first you need to work out why you are scared. There are many ways to do that some options are:

  • Journaling – Sitting down with a blank page and just writing everything down is a very effective method for many people. Whether you use writing prompts, write a letter to yourself, or use the brain dump method, getting it all out and written down in front of you can help you put order to your thoughts.
  • Finding someone to use as a sounding board – This works fantastically for me. A person willing to just listen and let me bounce ideas off of them, like a friend, spouse or family member, helps me make sense of the thoughts ping ponging around in my head. Many times they don’t even need to give any kind of feedback. My thoughts just order themselves as I talk it out. Other times they are able to come up with questions that I didn’t think of, and that’s enough to help me work through my problem.
  • Meditation – This helps for similar reasons as the other two. Meditation can help you slow down your thoughts, and let your brain put some kind of order to them. As you quiet your thoughts, it’s easier for the answer you are looking for to bob to the surface and be clear.

Once you figure out exactly what you are scared of, take a good look at it. Recognize that fear and let yourself feel it. It’s okay if you think the fear is silly or irrational, it’s still a valid feeling! If you can figure out the “why” behind your fear, even better, but it’s okay if you can’t. Really understanding your fear makes it easier to fully acknowledge it and move past.

Now that you have a face to your fear, let’s refocus. I want you to write down every reason you can think of that this change is a good thing. Every reason, no matter how small. We aren’t going for a pro/con list. Remember, this is a change we know is a good idea. We are just getting past the fear, so you can act on implementing this wonderful change.

Once you have that list, read it over and over. Add to it if you think of anything else at any point. Now, take a leap and go for it! When those fears pop up again, remember this list and repeat it to yourself. You can do this! You are worth it!

What change are you working on? How is it going? Do you need any more help working yourself up to going for it? Please share down below, or drop me an email!

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.

Figuring Out Your Basic Self-Care Needs

I was never any good at self-care. I was a typical teenager who ate and drank whatever and skimped on sleep. Soon after I was a young mother putting her kids first. That continued about 14 years until about four years ago when things had to change. At around the same time my depression and anxiety got worse and I started suffering from inflammatory arthritis and fibromyalgia. Self care had to become my priority. So how did I figure out what I needed? Mostly I just started with the basics.

Hydration

I’ve always tried to keep my hydration at least at a bare minimum. When it gets too low I get a very bad headaches. Now, I’ve been diagnosed with low blood volume and dysautonomia which require me to hydrate more than the typical 8 cups a day. For most people though, drinking until your pee is light yellow is plenty. This may be more or less than 8 cups. The liquid in food helps too, so if you struggle to drink enough, remember that high water fruits and soups can help.

Eating

If I go too long without food, my blood sugar dips and my depression takes hold. I need to eat every 3-4 hours usually. Not everyone needs to eat as often, but be sure you eat regularly for your body. Don’t skip meals, and snack if you need it. Food is fuel, and your body requires plenty.

I’ve also learned what type of foods make me feel better and what doesn’t. I know I need the right mix of protein and carbs to feel good. Other people feel better with their own mix. Whatever kind of foods that make you feel best is your right way to eat.

Sleep enough

This one is still hard for me. I need plenty of sleep to help manage multiple conditions. I’m also a night owl, and those two don’t always mesh well. I try to make it a priority to get to bed at a reasonable hour most of the time. I’m lucky enough to be able to nap on the days I need it. Sleep is important, so I don’t let myself feel guilty if I need more.

Find out how much sleep you need and make it a priority. Take a look here and see if you can improve your sleep hygiene any. A longer and deeper sleep will be better for you.

Quiet time by myself

I’m married with four kids; quiet time is hard to come by, and it’s even rarer to get it by myself. Not everyone finds this necessary, but as an introvert, I find it vital. My anxiety goes up if I don’t get enough alone time. If I can get even 10-30 minutes alone in my room, it helps a ton. The rare days that I can get an hour or more, I make sure to take it, no guilt involved. The wasn’t always the case, but I’m a better person all around if I get my alone time.

Past the common self-care basics

Like my quiet time, not everyone’s necessities are the same. Sit down and think about what makes you function best. What makes you feel off if it is left out? That is how I figured out I need to be sure to shower every other day. I’ve learned that I’m likely to want to skip a shower when my depression is acting up. As part of my self-care when it comes to depression, I make sure I don’t let myself skip a shower if at all possible. If I find myself dreading shower time, I know I need to get one anyway and then do some extra self-care to help fight the depression.

Once you have your basics figured out and are able to take care of them regularly, then you can expand and add more into your self-care routines. Start small though so you don’t get overwhelmed and burned out right away.

If you have any questions or requests for more on self-care and working out your routines, leave a comment or feel free to email me!

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.

15 Great Body Positive Quotes To Share

I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for some great stuff to share online. Just for you, here are some great body positive quotes all ready for you to share on Pinterest, Twitter, etc.

I am allowed to look sexy, feel sexy, and be in love. I am worthy of all of those things, and so are you. -Mary Lambert

Why should I change something as beautiful and complex as my body, when you won't change somethinga simple as your mind?

You don't encourage people to take care of their body by telling them to hate it. -Laci Green

Self hate isn't okay at any size.

There's nothing body positive about tearing down anyone's body.

Admire someone else's beauty without questioning your own.

Girls of all kinds can be beautiful-from the thing, plus-sized, short, very tall, ebony to porcelain-skinned; the quirky, clumsy, shy, outgoing, and all in between. - Tyra Banks

Want to get a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body.

To me, beauty is about being comfortable in your own skin. It's about knowing and accepting who you are. -Ellen Degeneres

Sexy isn't about what you wear. It's about how you feel. The more passion you feel, for yourself and your life, the more passion others will feel for you.

Never compare yourself to others and celebrate what makes you, you. -Tess Holliday

All bodies are summer bodies.

You were born an original. Don't die a copy. -John Mason

Your worth is not measured by the size of your waist.

I hope you enjoy these. There are a lot more on my Body Love | Body Positivity board over on Pinterest if you are interested.

I’ve also compiled a great list of body positive accounts to follow on social media. If you’d like some more sources for great body positive stuff to share, just sign up and I’ll send it to you.

 

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.

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4 Challenges To Body Positivity For Spoonies

Body positivity can be extra tough when you are a spoonie. When your body doesn’t cooperate and you have to fight it all the time, it can be hard to believe that “all bodies are good bodies” or “there’s no wrong way to have a body”. In fact, for some of us it isn’t even true that our bodies are doing all they can to keep us alive! It’s pretty hard to be positive toward something actively trying to kill you.

So, how do you stay body positive as a spoonie? For one, it helps to refocus yourself on what you can do rather than what your body can’t do. Whatever limits you may have, there is still a list you can make of what is possible. Make that list, and see what you can do to add to it. Learn something new, take up a fun hobby, expand that list any way you can. As you see the list grow, it will help you find appreciation for what your body is capable of still.

All Bodies Are Good Bodies

Being self-conscious about weight is a common thing for people with chronic illnesses or mental health issues. People can’t control their weight the way they think they can. (link link)  Spoonies have even less control over it. Between illness symptoms, physical limits, and medicine side effects, weight gain and loss is pretty well out of our hands. Even eating “perfectly” (whatever that may be) and exercising all the time won’t give guaranteed results, so just do what you can to care for yourself, and then let the numbers go. There is no perfect weight, and your body has other concerns anyway. Stressing out by worrying about your weight is more harmful than just letting your body find its natural set point given what you are doing.

Never compare yourself to others and celebrate what makes you, you. -Tess Holliday

We are all told that we should get more exercise. Movement can help our bodies to feel better and help us to feel better about our bodies. There are many reasons a typical exercise routine isn’t reasonable for a spoonie. Some have conditions making them exercise intolerant (link, link), some have injuries or limitations for other reasons. There is usually some way to find movement you can enjoy though. I miss dancing. My P.O.T.S. doesn’t allow it without me getting very winded and light-headed now. So, I’ve adjusted my dancing to less movement or chair moves. There are many resources out there depending on your limits. A physical therapist can help you work something out too.

Some days are harder to me to stay body positive, when I focus on things I can’t do anymore. When finding new things to do isn’t enough, sometimes I rethink new ways to do what I’ve lost. Cooking is much harder for me now that I can’t stand as long. I really miss it sometimes, so now, on my good days, we have a chair in the kitchen I can sit on as I cook. I can’t garden like I used to, so we went smaller and have a few container plants now. Many things can be rethought and adjusted like that.

Just like most things for spoonies, body positivity is possible with adjustments. Do you have other challenges to body positivity you would like to see discussed? Please share in the comments!

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.

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5 Myths About Body Acceptance

People tend to jump to a lot of conclusions when it comes to body acceptance or body positivity. This leads to some common myths. I’ve chosen five of them to discuss here.

1) Body acceptance is only for women.

Not true! Body acceptance is for everyone on the gender spectrum. Women tend to be the focus, because the pressure on them is more obvious. Even so, other people on the gender spectrum find themselves under pressure to conform to certain standards also. There is quite the lack of representation for them in the body acceptance movement though. I will be attempting to be inclusive, but will likely tend to lean toward addressing women and femmes since that is my perspective.

I’ve searched for some sources of info and support from other views for you:

This is a wonderful article with links to good sources.

Body Positivity For The Modern Man – Tumblr

Another great article with links

The Good Men Project has a host of articles in their archive

There is a very noticeable lack of gender neutral body positivity sources. After searching for some time, I think your best bet is to search Tumblr and/or Pinterest for “gender neutral body positivity” or something similar (without the quotation marks). I will be keeping an eye out for any good links, and will be sure to update with them as I find them.

2) Accepting your body, as it is right now, means you are lazy.

Not at all! Many people think those who love body acceptance do so as an excuse to not take care of themselves, but that is not the case. Body acceptance encourages you to cultivate love for yourself and your body, and show that love by taking care of yourself. Showing yourself love includes eating food that you enjoy and makes you feel well, staying hydrated, and moving your body in ways that are enjoyable and make you feel good.

You don’t do these things with any intent to change your body, only to care for it. There doesn’t need to be any guilt over how you actually care for yourself either. Your self-care is always up to you. There is much more to this idea, but that isn’t the focus of this post. If you are interested, you will want to look into Intuitive Eating or mindful eating. If done without a dieting mindset, intuitive eating and/or mindfulness can be a wonderfully body positive way to approach food and self-care.

3) Body acceptance is only about appearance.

Absolutely not. While there is a good amount of focus on all body shapes being acceptable, that is not the only important part. We also need to be able to see what our bodies are capable of doing. Many times people are able to start by appreciating how their bodies function, even when they can’t appreciate and accept their bodies otherwise. Appreciating the strength of your legs, how your arms embrace your loved ones, how your ribs protect your organs, all these things are part of body acceptance.

A side view of a nude torso with fat rolls. The photo is edged in words describing what "this body" does.

4) Body acceptance can be found overnight.

I honestly laugh at this one. I feel I can safely say no one ever has. We are conditioned to hate our bodies. That message comes at us from all sides, everyday, and a single article or decision won’t overwrite it.

Being body positive, or even just neutral toward your body, takes making a decision each day, and helping your brain rewire itself in how it thinks. Don’t feel like you’ve failed if you are still struggling after a few weeks. As long as you are working toward accepting of your body, you haven’t failed.

Which brings us to our final myth.

5) Once you find body acceptance, you will never struggle again. (Or you will love your body at all times.)

Even the biggest names in body positivity struggle some days. No matter how clearly you are aware of the lies in the media, these messages have still made a deep impression. This takes a long time to counter, and we are still getting ongoing negative messages, even if we take steps to adjust our “media diet”. (Media diet = what we see each day).

Of course this will lead to days where you struggle no matter how well you’ve been doing. Everybody does. But you will have tools and knowledge to help you through those days.

sketches of different bellies with pastel watercolor over them
credit to glasmond glasmond.tumblr.stfi.re

Something that helps me on rough days is listening to music. I made up a playlist on YouTube full of great songs that encourage body positivity and self-love. This play list is especially for my readers, and you can only see it if you have the link!

I feel strongly that everyone deserves to have positive feeling toward their body. Hopefully this post helps alleviate some of the reservations you may be having, or give you answers for anyone in your life questioning your choices. Please feel free to email me at leighbryant@flawedmessylife.com with any other questions or concerns you may be having.

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.

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